Jersey police are investigating decades of child sex abuse committed at children’s homes and other institutions on the island.
A total of 45 people are being investigated as part of Operation Whistle, a new inquiry into child abuse in Jersey.
Operation Whistle is part of Operation Hydrant, the nationwide police investigation into child abuse that is currently investigating 1,400 alleged sex offenders, including politicians and celebrities.
Decades of Abuse of Vulnerable Children by Well-Known People
13 “prominent people” are being investigated by Operation Whistle.
Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull from Jersey Police said, “Some of them are celebrities, politicians, some of them are people in the media, some of them are sports people. These are people who are well known.”
Mr Gull said that there are around 50 alleged victims and that some of the 45 suspects are either dead or have not yet been identified.
The alleged abuse is said to have spanned almost 70 years across four Jersey institutions, with the majority of abuse occurring in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Haut de La Garenne children’s home, which closed in 1986, was named as one of the institutions being investigated by Operation Whistle. The other three institutions are no longer in operation and have not been named.
Police first launched an investigation into child abuse in Jersey in 2007, with Haut de la Garenne being the main focus. Gordon Wateridge, a former care worker at Haut de la Garenne, was jailed in 2009 for eight counts of indecent assault against three teenage girls.
Survivors of Abuse are Confident that Abusers will be Brought to Justice
Jersey Police say that, since the Jimmy Savile investigations, the number of reported child abuse cases has almost doubled.
Detective Superintendent Gull said, “The investigation has shown a shift in attitudes and victims who have, in the past, felt unable to speak up, now have the confidence to do so in the knowledge that their claims will be dealt with sensitivity and sincerity.”
Slater and Gordon's specialist team of Abuse Lawyers are currently representing over 800 survivors of child sex abuse, including over 160 victims of Jimmy Savile.
We have also helped many people claim compensation for abuse suffered in institutions such as children's homes, schools and hospitals.
The number of people being investigated as part of Operation Whistle once again highlights why the mandatory reporting of child abuse should become law. If staff were under a legal obligation to report any abuse they find out is occurring at the institution where they work, it would give vulnerable children much greater protection and make it much less likely for abuse to continue over a number of years like it did in Jersey.
Hywel Thomas is a Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in child abuse cases at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
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